CAP Reform on Hold: Brexit Talks Come First

Written by | Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

The European People’s Party (EPP) thinks that the EU should first finalize the Brexit negotiations and only then set a clear and stable post-Brexit financial framework “before triggering discussions on the future reform” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). EPP unanimously adopted its vision for the post-2020 CAP, the biggest spender of the EU budget, setting its priorities for the continent’s farming. “Rather than a hasty reform, the current CAP should thus continue to 2024,” the EPP paper said. Moreover, the EPP said that new challenges like defense and security would need extra resources but these should not be taken away from the CAP. The EPP also promotes the introduction of new technologies in the sector and the need to prioritize the environmental performance together with economic viability.

The ultimate goal is to provide a stable policy framework for EU farmers since farmers’ income has recently been hurt by increased price volatility. As EU farmers are faced with increased overhead costs and for the EPP, this should be mitigated by enhancing the farmers’ bargaining position in the food supply chain. The farmers’ position in the food chain must be reinforced by tackling unfair trading practices, all while ensuring that buyers and suppliers respect the contractual freedom.

The EPP also pointed out that processors and retailers in the EU goods chain do not always assume responsibility for the interests of producers, which has negative implications in the chain. The paper also argues that “the future CAP must, therefore, encourage a better economic organization of the agricultural sector by both vertical and horizontal cooperation, increase market transparency, clarify further the application of competition law to agricultural markets and provide farmers and member states, where necessary, a legislative framework to combat Unfair Trading Practices”.

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